Sports ETA Welcomes Sports Leaders to Chief Executive Summit

 Posted on: November 8 2019
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LOUISVILLE, KY (November 8, 2019) – Sports events and tourism leaders from around the country were in Louisville this week for the 2019 Sports ETA Chief Executive Summit, where top business experts addressed topics such as leadership and management, crisis management and business strategy.

“Leadership is a constant learning process and our industry executives can benefit from top business professionals,” said Al Kidd, President and CEO of Sports Events and Tourism Association. “Our Chief Executive Summit gave sports tourism leaders and executives the chance to hear from others in business and learn best practices from leaders in higher education, horse racing, and technology, among others.”

“The Louisville Sports Commission was pleased to host the national leadership of the sports events and tourism industry in partnership with Sports ETA to showcase our city and our own business leadership,” said Karl Schmitt, President and CEO of the Louisville Sports Commission.

Highlights of the 2019 Sports ETA Chief Executive Summit, included:

  • Keynote speaker, Dr. Neeli Bendapudi, president of the University of Louisville, discussed leadership in the face of adversity. An expert in the study of human behavior in service contexts, Dr. Bendapudi spoke candidly about organizations facing difficult circumstances and righting the ship, including her experience at UofL since being named president in 2018.
  • Former NFL player Jon McGraw spoke about performance mindset. McGraw is president of the Jon McGraw Foundation, which supports various charitable causes and is a principal partner at Vision Pursue, a performance mindset training and technology company.
  • T. Kevin Flanery, president and CEO of Churchill Downs addressed managing customer experiences at events. Flanery discussed his organization’s approach to maintain a top-notch customer experience during mega-events at the iconic racetrack.
  • Dr. Jeff Guan, professor of CIS at the University of Louisville, presented a fascinating look at artificial intelligence advancements in business. He shared examples of how technology is rapidly changing across all industries, including sports.


About Sports ETA

As the only trade association for the sports events and tourism industry, Sports ETA is the most trusted resource for sports commissions, destination marketing organizations (DMOs), and sports event owners. Sports ETA is committed to the success of more than 850 member organizations and 2,400 sports event professionals. Our promise is to deliver quality education, ample networking opportunities and exceptional event management and marketing know-how to our members - sports destinations, sports event owners, and suppliers to the industry - and to protect the integrity of the sports events and tourism industry.  For more information, visit


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